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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Magic Cube: 20 Bicycles Make Generative, Architecture-Sized Graphics and Sound

Bet your Spinning class was never like this. In an architectural installation in Lyon, France, sound and light – and a whole lot of tech – come together with 20 bicycle riders, as the cycles appear to generate streams of data that feed the generative, abstract results. The Magic Cube @Lyon2012 from pixelux on Vimeo. The cyclists can’t really generate this much power – there’s just not enough energy and efficiency in this system for that – but, via sensors, their pedaling can impact the pattern. Presented at Fête des Lumières at the end of last year in Lyon, this …

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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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Birthday, Charming Animation by Renata Gasiorowska to Music of Alphabets Heaven

Alphabets Heaven – Birthday from diplodok493 on Vimeo. It has been extraordinary to watch the explosion of animation talent, as digital and traditional techniques merge, making newly-practical the role of the individual, independent animation artist. Today’s truly lovely example comes from young Łódź, Poland-based animator Renata Gąsiorowska, who collaborates with music label King Deluxe on a video for Brighton, UK band Alphabets Heaven. (We covered King Deluxe and their love for videos last fall.) Against the focused whimsy of that music, Renata’s animation weaves a fanciful narrative, perfectly timed to the pacing and flow of the tune. See the in-progress …

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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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