For the record, that’s US$59 for the Teenage drum machine, and US$139.95 list for the MeeBlip. (In fact, MeeBlip is on sale now for a very limited time for US$119.95 with free US/Canadian shipping or discounted international shipping.) Continue reading »
Artists are, in endless cycles, rediscovering techniques that might otherwise have been discarded. And that includes performance concepts in the audiovisual realm.
I’m this week in Moscow as a guest of the Polytechnic Museum (specifically their Polytech.Science.Art program. There is, I think, no more historically apt place on Earth to explore the connection between sound and image than the land of Scriabin, Kandinsky, Ballets Russes, and constructivist art, this epicenter of the audiovisual revolution.
What you probably don’t know so well is audiovisual experimentation from the later Soviet period, and that was partly impetus for our event – the work in particular of the Prometheus project, named for the Scriabin piece. We were inspired in particular by the “Crystal” machine, an octahedron mounted inside another octahedron made of frosted plexiglass, played by keyboard to change colors – with a whopping 600 watts of power on each color channel. You could guide futuristic airships into dock with this thing, it’s so bright, but it was made from scrounged parts. Preserving the remnants of that unit and recreating it/reinterpreting it are a longer-term project. It’s just one of a long line of such ingenious creations leading through the 80s, largely unknown even in Russia and certainly deserving of expanded awareness internationally. (And speaking of history, you can even go back to Russian Futurist 1916 Vladimir Baranoff Rossiné’s Optophonic Piano for yet more resonance in Russian history.)
I’m joined by Moscow-based media artist vtol, aka Dmitry Morozov in a workshop for creative participants at the museum this week. We liberally borrowed from Dmitry’s previous experimental workshop, based on Arduino, producing interactions with lightbulbs. Check out the video at top. But we’re going a bit further this time, with an expanded look at the history of audiovisual performance and how synchronicity and trans-media mappings work, as well as an extended laboratory in producing light machines for musical performance. Continue reading »
There are lots of one-off apps for iPad – a synth here, an effect there. zMors is something else: a complete modular patching environment.
And that doesn’t just mean putting some virtual patch cables onscreen. zMors does MIDI input. It works with hardware modulars (via audio and control voltage). And now, it adds Inter App Audio for use with other apps – and it loads Pd patches.
That’s right: you can put a modular patching environment inside your modular patching environment. Load a Pd patch from your computer into zMors, and combine it via other modules. That looks simply amazing for live performance.
First off, if you haven’t seen zMors yet, you do get a whole bunch of modules:
With the version released last week, zMors has added MIDI sequencing, a sampler, a MIDI filter, a motion module for making CV signals for outputs, a physical modeling (Karplus-Strong) oscillator, iCloud support (which is how you’ll load Pd patches), recording into WAV, Bluetooth MIDI support, and more.
If you know how to use Pd – even as far as downloading the odd patch – you know how to use the Pd bit. Pd patches work the way they always do, but here can be inter-connected with those other modules. You can thank libpd for making this possible – and, perhaps, ask why your favorite software doesn’t do something similar.
Here’s a short video showing what the software can do, from its fall launch (so obviously, it’s added more since then). And yes, you can customize that video:
What are you doing right now? Because … well, you might wind up chortling for a few minutes.
Updated: It seems Boiler Room has pulled the videos. (Suggestion for the creators: hot tip from Russia, things like this should really just be on VK. Ahem.) In other words, this particular parody suggesting Boiler Room might take itself too seriously has been taken seriously by Boiler Room. You can judge what that means, for intellectual property law or humor. I suppose it does mean the rest of us can get back to work. And then, tragically, they resurfaced! Oh, no! It’s the end of artistic freedom when you watch below!
Maybe it’s the pervasive grim glumness of “serious” dance music. Maybe it’s the ubiquity of Boiler Room, now the brand for everything involving electronic sound and live video. (Yes, they’re now on Twitch, for whoever watches Twitch.)
Mostly, it means those of us looking for the next viral Boiler Room parody to avoid doing what we’re supposed to be doing with our work / lives / etc. now have something to tide us once we’re caught up with / have re-read boiler room knows what you did last night.
Now doubly worth reading as you watch the response to Boiler Room trying to have these videos removed. There is actually some relatively serious discussion about this intensely silly project. And yes, there’s a change.org petition, complete with open letter to Boiler Room:
The first antidote to any element of today’s music scene we don’t like is to begin sharing the music we love.
And here’s a case in point. It’s a must-listen mix of all-female artists (via the female:pressure network), assembled by Akkamiau Kočičí aka hiT͟Hərˈto͞o.
This list for me is significant not because these are female artists. This could just as easily be a list of artists who move me personally, who inspire my own music.
Akkamiau shared some sentiments on making this mix with me that would seem to echo that. These artists are not only female but members of the vast female:pressure network, it’s true. (The only exception is Happa, who remixes Holly Herndon.) But that restriction, says Akkamiau, was “just as a conceptual limitation of the selection, to set the pool.” Continue reading »
This is, first and foremost, a plea for the pleasures of back-to-back DJing and mixing (for podcasts and the like) the same way. The controller, being the S8 but also any related hardware, plays a supporting role, not the other way round.
But like so much else in the world of electronic music technology, solo too often trumps ensemble. So let’s talk about gear – and why I was surprised to like something as huge as the S8 more than I thought I would.
I finally convinced my techno-making musical partner Nerk to lug the S8 out of the offices of Native Instruments where the company has been hyping the thing up, and into our studio. The idea: take a break from production and mix together some of the sort of music we love and want to hear more of. You can listen to that at the end.
Nerk’s reluctance was over the S8′s hulk. It’s not terribly heavy, but it is big. He’s not alone, either. More than a few DJs I’ve talked to view big, coffin-sized controllers with derision. Not only directing their ire at NI, that includes oversized devices from Numark, Pioneer, and others. And I tended to lean the same way, just because most DJs I know either keep it compact so they can squeeze into cramped booths (see our backpack-ready round-up) or go with what’s already there.
Part of why I’m glad to get to review Native’s new D2 controller next week – it’s essentially the deck control section of the S8 lopped off the rest of the device – is that it seems more practical. And so its bigger brother, the S8, like the S4 before it, seems on first blush more like an SUV to the D2′s sedan. This is an oversized Cadillac Escalade of a DJ controller, in other words, bought to look expensive and ostentatious while parked in the driveway while never taken off-road. (That’s not so much metaphor as direct comparison.)
However, there’s actually some reason to give this breed of devices a second chance – and to hope they find their way into the occasional studio or club installation. Continue reading »
It’s a long weekend in America, many bits of Europe, and other parts of the world, and that inflection point has arrived where the Northern Hemisphere looks forward to summer. So, let’s celebrate, turning attentions from dark, moody techno and experimental ambience to some splashes of color – techno plus all its further branches and blossoms.
And that means turning again to our friend Moderna, aka Missy Livingston, of Ghostly International.