Magellan_Synth1

In Magellan on iOS, Warm Virtual Analog Meets MIDI Everything [Hands-on, Tech Details, Gallery]

Occupying some space between hardware and computer plug-in, the iPad synth is reaching a new level of maturity. We saw that last year with Moog’s Animoog (see various coverage), and, while I took some flak by arguing that it wasn’t equivalent to hardware creations from Moog and others, I think it is a beautiful example of some of the best of this “third category” of synthesizer instrument. Animoog, for its part, has grown in depth since then and attracted long-time users, along with a handful of other top-notch synths that rise above the crowd. Musicians using these instruments often blend …

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What you need to know: Ceephax Acid Crew is one of the few people who can carry the burden of an all-hardware live performance - literally.

Ceephax Acid Crew, Like Taking a Fun Pill Made Out of Synthesizer

It’s summer. Are you on vacation? You’re reading CDM, so my guess is, either, a) yes, and you’ve snuck your iPad into the resort hotel bathroom, or b) no. No, you’re not. Let’s go on vacation, the kind of vacation that only Ceephax Acid Crew, aka Andy Jenkinson, can piece together from tourist videos and lots and lots of synthesizers. Now, that last name “Jenkinson” may ring a bell. Jenkinson … Jenkinson … P.G. Wodehouse character, no, that’s not it … ah, yes, this is the point at which we are obligated to mention Andy’s brother is Squarepusher. (Note to …

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Control from your [Livid] Code, without [writing] code. And that's an excuse to show this beautiful custom Livid Code controller, one of a number of devices from Akai, Livid, and Korg supported with this powerful tool.

A Controllerist Dream Come True: Custom Mappings in Ableton Live, Without Code

You’re not other people. You want things your way, right away. You might not want to buy a new controller for each piece of software, or, worse, the latest controller that purports to control said software, and then live with the particular way in which the two integrate. You want things to work the way you want things to work, darnit. Hidden in the depths of Ableton Live, MIDI Remote Scripts have for some time allowed you to map controllers to software functions. Now, you could do fancy things with Max for Live, but that means, first, buying Max for …

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Switches and things you may or may not recognize... but, you know, don't worry, not only are there hundreds of presets, but randomly switching presets is a lot of fun.

Sonic Charge Permut8: All Your Lo-Fi Digital Mangling Effects in One Place

Permut8 is the kind of thing that inspires the dreams of people who love digitally-manipulated sound. From legendary Swedish developer Magnus Lindström (Malström in Reason, MicroTonic), it’s a digital delay gone very, very mad. Think delays, flangers, bit crushing, beat repeating, and “circuit-bent” digital insanity. The core of the idea is a 12-bit digital delay with variable sample rate, all controlled by a programmable processor. That lets you do things you … shouldn’t. Various digital operators let you mangle and manipulate sounds, for effects that can be sonorous and beautiful or clangy or hideously-distorted, subtle or extreme, or any combination. …

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Push play, eh? Photo (CC-BY) Annie Roi.

Taking On Controversy, with RA Critics Roundtable, from Pressing Play to Running for the Border

Sometimes, it’s worth pushing pause on overheated blog diatribes and angry Facebook threads. Step away from the computer, you can have a real conversation. Resident Advisor, in the latest installment of their regular Critics roundtable, takes on three hot-button issues with a mix of people able to bring some nuance to the chatter. And since it’s a podcast – part of their excellent RA Exchange series – you can listen while doing dishes or driving to work. I’m one of the panelists in the series, but all three are touch some vital issues: Visas and cross-border international shows. Australian-born DJ/producer …

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Beck Uses Sheet Music, Illustrations in Place of an Album; Could “Sing it Yourself” Have a Future?

Before recording, there was simply music making. When you wanted to hear music, you had to find some actual living, breathing, fleshy musicians to make it happen. “Live” was the only kind of music. And prior to the record album, the mass publication of sheet music was the disruption that built a music industry. But there’s no reason people can’t get together and play music themselves. So, the first question you might ask, when seeing that Beck is releasing an “album” in the form of a set of sheet music, is, “why not?” And, for music in general, “why not …

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Avid’s Sibelius Scoring Tool Marches On, But Without Its Creators, As Users Protest

As industry giant Avid reorganizes, user fears about the future of popular notation tool Sibelius continue to mount. The chief rival to MakeMusic’s Finale, Sibelius is widely used among composers, musicians, arrangers, engravers, and educators. Those users now fear not a dead Sibelius, sold off to some other party, but an undead tool. In this scenario, they contemplate the loss of the core development team that would provide essential ongoing updates. Despite the staying power of tools like Venue, Pro Tools, and its flagship video software, Avid has been on a steady skid in profits and share value. Consecutive quarters …

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quotidian1

In Percussive Harmonies, A Record of a Year of Travel – Literally, on a Record [MeeBlip + Location Data]

Photos courtesy the artist. We have data in pictures, we have data in Facebook posts – why not data as music? In the latest data sonification project, the record of travel becomes an oddly-beautiful set of percussive harmonies. And it’s a “record” in every sense: artist and composer Brian House not only composes the data into pleasing sonorities, but presses them into a rather elegant limited-edition vinyl. And the whole project is powered by our very own open source MeeBlip synthesizer, demonstrating that you can coax a range of sounds out of traditional 2-oscillator subtractive synthesis. With that unique take …

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In Drifting Circles, Ambient Patterns Off the Grid: Sona on iPad, a New Take on Simon

Sona iPad App ECAL/Ruslan Gaynutdinov from ECAL on Vimeo. Like animated graphic scores, software interface is becoming a palette for musical experimentation. Sona is latest, beautiful combination of interface design, musical composition and visualization, and ambient instrument. You’ve seen works like this before, naturally, but this one – recalling the off-the-grid patterns of ambient master Brian Eno – is especially nicely executed. It also illustrates a point: this kind of work is now routinely done as a student project, but then distributed to the world, not only confined to thesis reports or conferences. This also goes a long way to …

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Matmos in the sun - and this duo shines as brightly as ever. Photo Jamie Marsh.

Matmos: New Music, Parapsychological Experiments, Sensory Deprivation Goggles, Irish Covers

It’s a fitting way to honor computer music: Matmos produced an electronic reimagining of computer pioneer Alan Turing’s favorite tune, the Irish traditional song “Molly Malone.” The results are haunting, made more so by Mr. Turing’s untimely demise and unjust prosecution for his open homosexuality. (According to legend, he played it on violin to the police who came to arrest him. Whether true or not, it’s a touching anthem.) 2006’s “Molly Malone” is now available as a free download on Bandcamp. Fovea Hex’s Clodagh Simonds provides the heart-wrenching vocal line. The track by way of the FOR ALAN TURING EP, …

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