When Plants Jam with Synths: Leslie Garcia’s Open Project Lets Plants Talk with Sound

Pulsu(m) Plantae _ project presentation from LessNullVoid on Vimeo. You may have seen a plant used as a musical instrument before, by measuring capacitance across the leafy life form and turning it into a touch sensor. This is something different: it’s letting the plant itself express communication through sound, using biofeedback to turn the living systems on the plant into something audible. It is a synth jam, made by a plant, that tells you something about what the plant is sensing about the world around it. From Tijuana, México, media artist and musician Leslie Garcia shares the latest iteration of …

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In Drawings, A Producer Looks at Big Acts’ Live Laptop Rigs, Deadmau5 to FlyLo

In a charming set of schematic doodles, self-described hip-hop producer deejers has assembled an exquisitely-researched compendium of live laptop rigs from top music acts. In the lineup: Flying Lotus, Skrillex, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Daft Punk – a reasonable sampling of artists playing big shows live on the US circuit. And, oh, yes, deadmau5, who despite claiming that everyone just presses play, has put together a fairly impressive controller setup with monome, Maschine, Lemur, and Pioneer EFX-1000. (Just one of those four controllers could let you assemble a track from scratch, let alone all four.)

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Deckadance 2 Hits Beta; FL’s DJ Cousin is Packed With FX and Envelopes, VST Support

What would happen if Traktor DJ and a KAOSS Pad had a love child, who went to school at Ableton and came home full of automation envelopes and triggers? Well, maybe something like this. Certainly, the results would be a DJ tool the likes of which only FL “Fruity Loops” Studio maker Image Line would dream up, in a demo video only they would make. It’s beta 2 of Deckadance, the underdog Mac/Windows DJ app that’s surprisingly full of functionality. And while this isn’t the first DJ software to do sampling and effects, those features are now tied to some …

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Connecting Your iOS Apps: Why Both Audiobus and JACK Can Succeed

It always has to be complicated, doesn’t it? You just want to sit on your couch with your iPhone or iPad and finish some music, by recording that drum machine and a bass line into a multitrack song in a different app. And then, after months of this site saying the way to do that was something called Audiobus, everyone is suddenly talking about something called JACK, too. Ah, standards. All of this had some wondering if JACK even has a shot, with Audiobus already out there. Even Apple has come onboard, as of last week, with the announcement that …

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SoundCloud More Affordable for Creators, As Service Attempts Balancing Acts [Analysis]

We hear some pretty clear messages from CDM readers about SoundCloud. One, almost all of you seem to have some criticisms of it. Two, almost all of you appear to use it, complaints or none. Even as other services remain valuable, SoundCloud is practically its own category. (In fact, the level of detail about those complaints suggests to me that they come from ongoing, intensive usage.) Ubiquity is an understatement. “Do you have a SoundCloud?” is a question I hear about as much as I once heard “do you have a MySpace?” a few years ago. People ask it in …

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Do Not Adjust Your Radio: Surreal Sound Collage Interventions on BBC Radio 4

Before any explanation, perhaps you should listen. This is what some British listeners will hear as they tune into what they think will just be everyday national radio programming. Suffice to say, something will sound a bit off: Artist Christian Marclay is the person responsible for the work, the first of five such commissions in sound art for the widely-heard UK broadcaster BBC Radio 4. (He joins Ruth Ewan, Mark Wallinger, Susan Hiller, and Peter Strickland. More information on Radio 4’s blog.) This is the sort of commission that invites bold experimentation: working with London-based art platform Artangel, a GBP …

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Pianist and Piano, Disconnected, in Composition for Kinect and Grand

The piano is a conventional grand, but with digital interface and camera, the composer is separated from it by air, playing without touching. It’s a Theremin interface for a keyboard instrument. Piano post-modern? Gestural post-digital? Whatever it is, in a work composer Benjamin Martinson composed for player piano, computer, and Kinect camera, the piano work holds up as musical content – compositional gesture, not just gimmicky digital hand-waving. Martinson himself looks oddly isolated and awkward, a man making rough mime gestures in unseen water, molasses, and wind. I can’t tell whether this is more about our expectations of human movement, …

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JACK for iOS: Audio and MIDI Between Apps, High Performance, Free

iOS now offers lots of options for using apps together, but – that’s part of the problem. The solutions are piecemeal. There’s inter-app MIDI. There’s Audiobus, which does audio, but requires the purchase of a separate app. Then you need something else for sharing data. And something else for sync. Confused yet? (Hey, it’s easy, just remember: Audiobus, WIST, AudioCopy, AudioPaste, Core MIDI and inter-app MIDI, and… yeah.) By the time you’re done, you’ve actually had to buy new apps just to get things working together, and you have a number of different technologies just to do some basic things …

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When Reason Met MIDI Out: How MIDI, Virtual CV Work in the New Reason 7 [Pictures, Details]

It’s been a long time coming, to say the least. But you can be sure that even when Propellerhead do something as basic as MIDI output, they’ll do it in, well, a Reason way. So, it was intriguing to hear Reason was adding MIDI out precisely because in Reason it’s integrated with virtual patch cords and connections that make it work differently than in other hosts. And that means we wanted details. Propellerhead’s Leo Nathorst-Böös answers some of our questions, as CDM awaits the beta version. Most helpfully, we have some new images, so you can see better what’s going …

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Generative Genius: Free Max for Live Patch Lets You Schedule Scenes at Any Clock Time

Bars and beats are great. But people find applications for sound and music that go beyond traditional tools. That has already made Ableton Live a popular choice for triggering audio events and the like. But even Live tends to be biased toward conventional musical time. Sound and multimedia shop Aconica rolled their own tool to create a solution, the brainchild of sound and media artist Martin Backes, and now that tool is available to Ableton Live users for free. (Max for Live, now included with Live Suite as of Live 9, is required.) The name of the plug-in gives away …

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