Hacklab 2013: People soldered, people sewed.
Hacklab 2013: Bio-music, by Manford Eaton. Wearable interface by Monika G. Dorniak (who was also behind the recent WCOMTC). And the multi-dimensional EPhysMus system, by Ove Holmqvist.
Inventing technological hacks in short time is one thing. At CTM Festival in Berlin, we want to push collaborative participants to go further. First, invent the technology for performance. Then, invent the performance – and be ready to perform publicly – and it do it all in just one week.
It’s time again to join a MusicMakers Hacklab.
Last year was the first week-long event hosted with CDM, and the first at CTM Festival. CTM makes a perfect venue, a brilliant and packed showcase for adventurous sound (and in parallel with another digital media fest, Transmediale, in the same city at the same time).
In that installment, we joined together with Imogen Heap and her Gloves Team. Dancers and instrumentalists joined coders and laptop musicians and visualists; people swapped needles and thread with soldering irons. The results were wearable and playable, spawning kinetic sculpture and light and sound and instrument. See what happened in this video:
musicmakers hacklab short from CDM on Vimeo.
This year, co-facilitated with sound artist Darsha Hewitt, we’ll not only set up collaborations but also present finished performances. At Berlin’s renowned HAU2 in the heart of the Kreuzberg neighborhood, Hacklabbers will get a chance to show finished work on the last day of CTM.
If you can get yourself to Berlin at the end of January, you can apply now to be involved for free. I’d love to see you there. Continue reading »
Max for Live represented an important milestone in music making software. It paired one of the most popular music production tools, and easily the most popular real-time workflow, with one of the most popular tools for users wanting to realizing their own musical software ideas.
Max for Live, as a result, can become a window into making Ableton Live your own.
Of course, figuring out how to begin doing that can be a daunting task. For many Live users, it ends somewhere around downloading some neat patches someone else has made.
What do you do when you want to attack Max for Live yourself?
Julien Bayle’s new book, Max for Live Ultimate Zen Guide, isn’t a bad place to start. The audiovisual artist, educator, and certified Ableton Live trainer has been a prolific writer of late. His text isn’t necessarily a soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom guide to Max. But that is probably not what you want, anyway, if you want to begin working in Ableton quickly. Instead, what you get is an unusually lucid look at how Max lives inside Live – how it integrates with what Live can do. That makes it essential reading for anyone wanting to tinker with Live and make it their own. From there (see the Table of Contents below), it moves into MIDI and audio, effects and instruments, making it an effective bridge to a more in-depth education in Max or patching in general.
But it’s that ability to get straight to the point of what you need to know to integrate with Live that makes it special. And so, to give you a feel for what that means (and for more advanced users, perhaps even share a few tips), we’re fortunate to have an exclusive excerpt downloadable as PDF from CDM. It goes deep into the question of how to observe and interact with Live from inside a Max patch, complete with a lot of very specific advice from Julien – a bit like having him at your side.
Hope you enjoy reading (below). And we have a discount code, too, to reduce the minimum price of the e-book.
Continue reading »
A recent AV set live at TLN Festival 2013, in Toulon (southern France).
Complete with color LED display and interactive sensing, this clever DIY project from Amanda Ghassaei is the real deal: a multitouch table used for music, constructed from scratch. And step-by-step instructions on Instructables mean that you can try the same idea yourself.
The 8×8 matrix and the notion of independent light-up LEDs, along with some of the firmware, come from the monome project (and the open arduinome clone). But here, that idea is extended to seamless touch sensing, measured by infrared.
Multitouch Music Controller from Amanda Ghassaei on Vimeo.
Continue reading »
Fresh, sparkling, and minimal, Timo Maas’ music might already suggest balletic pirouettes by a chorus of machines. But our friend Daito Manabe has executed yet another opus – this time, making the music video kinetic.
In “Tantra,” Japan’s Daito turns to the delicate tumbles of lit-up balls against robotic panels. Keep watching, as eventually you’ll see it all in slow motion, perhaps the nicest moment of the piece. The suggestive play of robotic repetition with some organic outcome fits this sort of dance music perfectly, it seems.
Daito has gradually built up a body of work like this, from appearing on this site in its early days with a vibrating chaise longue controller by a turntable to making music by electric stimulation of his face, to bending tennis shoes to play samples.
The team here also includes: Continue reading »
The love of all things volca continues, as enthusiastic owners of KORG’s boxes create their own accessories.
The latest: a sample library (meaning you don’t even need to own the volca), a fantastic editor/control panel package that works standalone or in Ableton Live, and a MIDI output mod.
Free volca beats Sounds: First, let’s have a listen to a dark, dirty, free sample library from Dark Side of the Tune, aptly named Volca Beats.
The Volca Beats was put through multiple gain stages and frequency modulation to create even more depth and range. From quick thumpy sounds for techno and like genres, to beefy Hip-Hop style rhythms, Volca Beast can easily fit into most productions.
All sounds were recorded into analog outboard conservatively, then the Universal Audio Apollo for rock-solid digital stability. These sounds are not normalized, and brought up to about -6 so no digital distortion occurs.
Continue reading »
Here’s a really quick tip, but it demonstrates something in one illustrative video: Keith McMillen’s QuNexus is a brilliant, mobile solution for MIDI and analog control voltage.
Of course, time was when the mention of control voltage would say to people either eccentric vintage gear collectors or expensive racks of modular. But CV’s appeal is fast spreading. On the modular side, prices are tumbling, and compact suitcase rigs can easily cost less than some pricey plug-in bundles (cough). On the used/vintage side, there’s just a lot of gear you might want to connect. And now, there are affordable units like Korg’s Monotribe.
What’s great about the QuNexus is that you get MIDI and CV in one very portable, very affordable box, with a keyboard attached. Add the MIDI Expander and you don’t need a computer, either. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical of the QuNexus when I first saw it, but it’s gradually become one of my favorite pieces of gear – enough that I always want it in my bag – just like those Apple video adapters, it’s always with me. It’s just stunningly playable for something so small and thin, and the connectivity makes it versatile.
Via Google+, I heard John Keston showing off a little Monotribe and Volca KEYS rig. It’s adorable and small, perfect for quick jams or mobile music making. He comments more on the setup: Continue reading »
Black Friday, the ominous-sounding American retail holiday named originally for the day when retailers broke even (think black ink), is of course on today. Fortunately, for music and sound, there’s no need to get trampled to land some discounts.
Here’s what’s in the CDM inbox – these aren’t paid placements and they’re hardly comprehensive, but some deals I thought were especially nice:
Vinyl lovers everywhere, you may want to check your local store today. Record Store Day’s BACK TO BLACK FRIDAY is on. (I guess they resisted the urge to call it None More Black, Spinal Tap style.)
Audiofile Engineering, the terrific OS X audio developer, has a sale on many of their apps, including the audio editor Triumph.
Twisted Tools, who make some of my favorite creative tools for Reaktor as well as some fascinating samples and the like, have 25% off with code TTblackfriday through the evening of the 2nd of December (11:59 PM California time on Monday).
Native Instruments has a massive sale they’re calling XXL. A whole swath of software is available at 50% off – not everything, but still a lot of choices, including instruments and effects from Komplete, expansions for Maschine, and Traktor Pro 2. Upgrades and crossgrades are also all 50% off, meaning now is a smart time to upgrade. And iOS apps iMaschine and Traktor DJ are also on sale on the App Store. Traktor DJ at US$1.99 is a particular deal; iMaschine is sorely in need of an update but still a fun way of capturing samples for Maschine desktop software and is also at US$1.99.
If you’ve waited to pick up the very-lovely iMini and unique iSEM apps for iOS, they’re US$4.99/€4.49 Friday through Sunday. And they’ve added iOS 7 support with interapp audio, too. Find them on the app store at Arturia’s section, before they revert to ten bucks.
Elektron has 10% off their machines, including Analog Four, Octatrack, Machinedrum UW, and Monomachine. Continue reading »