Thumb piano + Pd.
Music technology: old meets new.
There is something phenomenal happening in music technology right now. We usually write about the developments in the tools themselves. But if you want to see new things happening, it’s often more about the spread of knowledge around those tools.
Watching it evolve is astounding. Focus only on the tools, and the landscape hasn’t changed much in recent years. But look at the people using them, and it’s a different story. More and more diverse audiences of artists are picking up the skills to use these inventions, and they bring a wider range of aesthetics and ideas to how they’re used.
I’m fortunate to get to play even a small part in that. And that means sometimes going from being a disembodied voice on the Web to getting in a room with people to teach, experiment, and trade ideas. There’s great education happening around commercial tools, but I especially like starting people with Pure Data and Processing because they are free, and there’s a level playing field. People can show up with any laptop (or even a netbook), any OS, and get to work. (And they can still apply the same skills to other tools – working in Pd and Max for Live, for instance – if they so choose.)
We tried a new format last year co-organized with Elisabeth Neid, at an event in collaboration with Berlin’s Mindpirates. (They’re the same folks who made this free Red Bull Music Academy film making the rounds now.) The goal: go from learning to experimental hacking to playing. And I was stunned by the results, as vocalists and VJs, instrumentalists and coders all came from radically different skill levels to jam together by the third day.
Next stop, Netherlands Thursday: If you’re near Amsterdam this week, registration is still open for a more compressed workshop hosted by Fiber Festival and 5 Days Off, as part of the programming for an event I’m inspired by entitled “Coding the Club”:
THE ENCODED GROOVE: FREE SOUNDMAKERS WITH PURE DATA Continue reading »
New sound experiences demand not only new content, but new terrain – architectural audio, spaces that can take on new meanings. And that’s why 4DSOUND in Amsterdam is such a compelling canvas.
4DSOUND is a unique installation, 256 square meters (2700+ square feet) of floor, divided into an equal grid. On that grid, columns house 48 omnidirectional speakers, as nine sub-speakers rumble beneath the floor. The result is a sonic bath, a three-dimensional audio environment. Ableton Live (with Max for Live) and Liine’s Lemur iPad app work with that system to finely position sound in the new space that’s created. Sensors can also track motion through the space (that’s the squiggly lines you see below). Dutch sonic engineers Paul Oomen, Salvador Breed, Poul Holleman, and Luc van Weelden created the system.
Continue reading »
Reactable, now turning age five, still remains something that can take people’s breath away. Making the relationship of musical components into actual building blocks, it demystifies music making and makes it more magical all at the same time. And since the table itself is big, not-portable, and pricey, there’s also the iOS- and Android-compatible tablet edition. (The Android app is one of the few that gives my vintage Galaxy Tab something useful to do.)
This weekend, you can grab Reactable Mobile yourself 50% off:
50% Off Fifth Anniversary
But this is also a perfect opportunity to watch a tantalizing video that matches the table with a physical synth – Teenage Engineering’s OP-1. It shows what a digitally-augmented studio of the future might look like.
I had the pleasure of playing with Reactable creator Martin Kaltenbrunner in New York a couple of years ago (with support from the Austrian government, even). It’s a perfect jamming instrument, even just in the mobile edition. And Martin and I spoke to Dubspot on that same trip: Continue reading »
Dirty, low-fidelity digital sound comes to your shiny, high-fidelity digital device.
Yes, WebSID is a beautifully-grungy emulation of the legendary SID synthesis in the Commodore 64. Because it runs in a Web browser, it’s also stupidly-simple to use. On computers, the keys are cleverly mapped to your keyboard, so you can jam by typing. On a phone or tablet with capable browser, you can use touch, meaning this is a bit like having an app.
It sounds remarkable, all using the Web Audio API, with a nice filter, envelope controls, and delay, plus lots of authentic sound features (including properly arpeggiating polyphonic chords). It’s good enough that I might just jam on the thing and record. If you do the same, send it our way.
I’m also curious which touch devices and browsers work well with this. Try it yourself:
Via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk [Deutsch - and, to think, I thought CDM's name was too long...]
The creator, Amsterdam-based Igor Zinken, has also produced a really nice experimental synth on Android. Not only is the synth itself nice, but it’s really built around being a sketchpad, with nice sequencing features, audio/SoundCloud export, and – in a feature I wish more apps had – MIDI export for sketching projects you finish on the desktop.
Avid, makers of Pro Tools, Media Composer, Sibelius, and other products was on Tuesday suspended from being traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange because of a failure to issue timely financial statements. And the company by the admission of its own chief executive faces a changing industry.
However, our earlier report included inaccurate information from financial analysis site The Street. Their report included outdated financial data. Our reporting was not correct; we have since spoken to Avid.
The Street reporting (and thus ours, in building a report on it) was inaccurate and misleading in that financial data for Avid actually isn’t available. That’s the sole reason for the NASDAQ delisting. The company went into further detail on Wednesday in a pre-recorded webcast for investors, which you can watch on the site.
The main point is this: we don’t have any 2013 numbers for AVID. Avid has filed no earnings reports, including the 2013 Form 10-K American public companies must submit to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission, the US financial regulatory body). In addition, Avid says the numbers that from 2012 are part of the restatement process. (There never was even a Q4 2012 statement.) It’s also worth noting that our bias is heavily on the audio/music side, not the video production market to which Avid caters. That is only one portion of Avid’s business, and we can’t adequately cover the rest.
The main point of the story, though, was people in music or keenly interested in the future of the company. We received an unprecedented amount of feedback from users, across the spectrum of music and audio makers. The message: those of you who do use Pro Tools care about it passionately, and many of you consider it an irreplaceable tool. Those of you who don’t use Pro Tools are passionate, too, about what is happening at Avid and what it means for the industry. We got the facts wrong, and it’s important we get them right, and that we follow this story as it develops. (The Street has since removed those statements from their story, and even went as far as removing their “SELL” rating for the stock. However, it is not our business to report inaccurate information, whatever the source, and I apologize.)
Here is our understanding, and the latest information. Continue reading »
So much of the world of tool-making for musicians remains the work of impassioned individual developers, making a labor of love. Sinevibes is a perfect example of this kind of fine-crafted software, combining ingenious interface ideas with rich, musical sonic invention.
As Ukraine erupted into chaos in recent weeks, I watched the updates from Kiev-based Sinevibes developer Artemiy Pavlov on social media, hearing the word from inside the city and his perspective – analytical and emotional – on what it meant. Yet, remarkably, I also watched a series of developer updates to his plug-ins. Artemiy was glued both to the latest news and Xcode, it seemed, through the whole affair.
His OS X Multitude plug-in we’ve visited before; I already considered it a must-buy. Now, it’s on sale for US$39, and 100% of that goes to benefit those who suffered in the violence in the Ukraine. Sinevibes announces: “100% of the money from this sale will go to support the recovery of wounded activists and protesters, and to support the wives and children of those who lost their lives.”
Because these funds are going directly to Ukrainian recipients, Artemiy tells CDM he is working directly with donation coordination and medical offices at the local level. With the sale already on, that has already dispersed some funds. “Last week I sent some funds to the central medical office,” he tells us, “as well as personally to a few people which they gave me details for.”
If you need a reminder of what the effect does:
- It comprises four delay units, each with forward/reverse playback.
- To produce rhythms, there are then five gate sequencers and four delay sends.
- To those, you can add up to eight effects for each delay unit, route-able to any stage: frequency shifter, sample rate and bit depth reducers, circuit bender, noise, multi-mode filter, saturation, and flanger.
- You also get two LFOs for each delay, which in turn can be routed freely and use different waveforms and “adjustable chaos.”
In other words, it’s really a modular delay/multi-effect – deep stuff. The stuff you could make entire tracks out of.
The sale is on now through the 15th of March:
And some sounds, to refresh your memory: Continue reading »
We have an updated, more complete and accurate story on the issue, including commentary from Avid. Read the full feature
In it, we look at the NASDAQ delisting, some ongoing concerns (SEC, DOJ, and a shareholder suit remain issues), but also Avid’s strategy and the response from the company on how they intend to move forward.
Restructuring efforts at Avid maker Pro Tools are far from returning faith in the company by the stock market.
Financial site The Street reports today on the state of the company’s stock. Most troubling, yesterday Avid received a letter from NASDAQ delisting the company from the stock exchange. As of today, trading of AVID was halted on NASDAQ. (This doesn’t mean you can’t still trade AVID stock; you have to do it via the Over-the-Counter market.)
The really significant issues here are cash flow and earnings, and Avid’s ability to report on their situation – and losing NASDAQ trading will only exacerbate the problem. TheStreet Ratings Team looked at losses and negative cash flow.
IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Without identifying them as such, it appears that The Street cited the most recent data from Avid – though that data is badly, badly out of date, as Avid Technology hasn’t filed quarterly results since third quarter 2012, a full year and a half ago. This means that the divestment of M-Audio, for instance, is not included in the analysis. While it is still troubling that that data is unavailable (and this is one factor among others that led to NASDAQ’s suspension), it means that this story very inaccurately described the picture. The reality is, we don’t know. A full retraction / update on Avid is awaiting official word from the company, who have not yet responded to requests for comment (though we expect they may soon). -Ed. Continue reading »