Stepping Through Music, Interactively: Drum Kits and Monomes Navigate Notes

Left to right, beginning to end, the same in a loop — there’s no reason music has to work this way once you’ve got a computer. But if you associate generative or algorithmic music with some sort of magical black box machine you switch on, an automaton spitting out notes while you sip tea and stroke your beard, think again. Here are two examples that use interactive structures as a way to make music more live, not less. One is the latest creation from the ingenious mind of monome creator Brian Crabtree (who, perhaps unexpectedly, seems to have redirected the …

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Modeselektor Documentary to Chronicle a Duo Who Really Click [Trailer]

Electronic Beats, the editorial project sponsored by a certain major mobile carrier in Germany, has been doing extraordinary work profiling artists. (Their films are in English or have English subtitles.) The upcoming Modeselektor project, due out the 3rd of May, extends that to full-length documentary filmmaking. And the results look terrifically inspiring. But what’s significant here may not be a popular, influential electronic duo getting their due. Just as importantly, as featured here in the trailer, the creative coupling of Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary is all about the energy of two people who really work together. This thing might …

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As a Musician Loses Her Sight, A Rush for Music Apps for the Blind [Hack + Listen]

Take a good, long look at your computer screen. Now imagine you can’t see it. That’s the reality Mandy Matz is facing. At age 36, she’s losing her vision to glaucoma. The musician and multimedia artist makes some beautiful, ethereal music, having cut her teeth on Buzz. Listen to the haunting “Alpha Waves,” her first song. EP by Theory Anesthetic And now, because sight is so deeply connected to the way in which music developers map your brain to software, losing her vision could mean losing her ability to work with digital tools. It shouldn’t be this way. As Paul …

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Push, In-Depth Test: What’s it Like Playing The New Hardware from Ableton?

When Ableton Live was first released over ten years ago, it was labeled a “sequencing instrument.” The radical idea was that you could “play” your production tool, which had (and has) big implications in studios, at home, and onstage. “Playing” with a mouse and keyboard is unsatisfying for most, so even that relatively primitive first version had MIDI controller mapping. In the intervening decade-plus timespan, musicians have found a variety of ways to connect their hands and bodies to the software model of music contained in their laptops. They’ve constructed massive custom hardware (DJ Sasha’s Maven and Robert Henke’s Monodeck …

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Ableton Releases Live 9, Push Preorder; Watch Live-streamed Push Tutorials

Ableton has just launched their new site with Live 9 available for purchase and download, and the new Push hardware available for preorder. If you’re an existing Live user logged into your user account, you’ll see upgrade options for the software. Push can be preordered direct online, and Ableton has for the first time announced shipping information, listed as “2-4 weeks.” It’ll be interesting to see if the preorder sells out. http://ableton.com Updated: Apparently in response to demand, Ableton is having some issues with their webshop. Readers report some problems with accessing the site and ordering. We’ll let you know …

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What Does it Mean to Be an Electronic Instrument?

The electronic music analog to visual media’s question “is it art?” is clear. “Is it really a musical instrument?” Ableton will this week officially launch its Push hardware with Live 9; we’ll have an online exclusive review alongside that release. I know that the company is fond of calling it an “instrument.” For a profile by the German-language magazine De:Bug, Ableton CEO Gerhard Behles even posed with a double bass, the Push set up alongside. The message was clear: Ableton wants you to think of Push as an instrument. We’ll revisit that question regarding Push, but this isn’t only important …

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