Beamz Laser Harp, as You’ve Never Heard it Before

Forget all my blathering on about the Sharper Image Beamz thing, because this video says it better than I possibly could. No, it’s not the video you’ve seen already. Think Beamz gone experimental — and keep watching until about :30. (Thanks to Chachi and Matt for this one.) It’s official: Beamz has become stuff of Web legendz. I can haz alternative interface, or whatever.

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Beamz Laser System Strikes Back, But What’s Wrong With Instruments, Anyway?

This week, on Top Chef. Photo: croncast. The saga of the Beamz Laser Music System goes on: the spectacularly awful demo video has spread on the Internets, and after Gizmodo proclaimed it the most stupid promo video ever, they were challenged by the PR company to do a real review. (No such challenge yet for CDM, mercifully.) This does reveal where the thing came from, though. The Beamz tool was “invented” by songwriter Jerry Riopelle, who had a fairly significant career penning tunes in the 60s (“The Thrill is Gone”) and went on to a solo career in the 70s. …

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Beamz Laser Harp Makes Faux Music, Demeans Girl in Penguin Sweater

You’re not cool now? You will be, as your hands dance to the rhythm through the magical lasers. A few moments of your playing, and nothing could possibly convince me that you didn’t grow up on the streets of Jamaica, banging oil drums you salvaged and hammered into shape. Whoops, sorry — had to snap out of that for a second. So, okay — it seems the beamz laser harp we saw last week comes with special algorithmic software that makes music play basically regardless of what you do. The problem with laser harps in general is they tend to …

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Sharper Image Selling Pre-Made Laser Harp, But Why Not Make Your Own?

The Sharper Image, a source of various amusing musical oddities over the years, now has a ready-to-use USB laser harp music controller for PC (Windows XP/Vista), at the price of — wha? US$599? Yes, this is obviously Sharper Image exercising the business and marketing acumen that allowed it to — erm — file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. And, in a move we haven’t seen in years, they spell the name with a ‘z’ instead of an ‘s.’ Classy. And they’ve opted for a design that looks like the security fence in Jurassic Park. The beamz Music …

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From the CreateDigitalNoise Forums: Laser Koto, New Musicians, Old Issues

CDM Stalwart bliss thinks that Wired’s article on Miya Masaoka‘s Laser Koto is worthy of front page CDM status. Well let’s have a look at the required aspects of a CDM article: Electronic Music? Check. Samples? Check. Lasers? Check. Midi? Check. Arduino? Check. Laptop? Check. Max/MSP? Check. Yep, I think we can squeeze it in somewhere. Masaoka was then able to play the instrument in its natural, acoustic state, use the gestural data supplied by motion sensors to generate and process sounds electronically, or do both at the same time. Toward the end of the Monster Koto’s life cycle, Masaoka …

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Water-and-Laser Music Controller, A Look Back at Watery Musical Instruments

Is it the call of the ocean? The primordial urge to return to our pre-human evolutionary roots, the womb? Hand dryness caused by too many hours at the computer? Whatever the reason, interactive musicians keep designing wild instruments involving water. The latest comes from Australian hacker / designer / instrument builder Sebastian Tomczak. He’s turned a bowl of water into a controller by firing laser beams through it, courtesy cheap laser pointers. Interrupt the water, and the beam’s diffraction through the water changes. A solar panel acts essentially as a large photocell (makes sense; you get more surface area than …

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Burning Man: Laser Harps, Improbable Orchestra Knob Boxes

For some of the most bizarre and unusual music-sound installation art, look no further than Burning Man. Burning, indeed: this desert-based event has in the past featured Eric Singer’s Max/MSP-controlled pyrophone, a propane-powered flaming sound organ. (And, incidentally, that installation is making a repeat appearance this year.) And what better activity when in the middle of the desert than tweaking knobs and producing strange electronic grooves? That’s the idea behind improbable orchestra, an interactive table full o’ knobs for collaborative soundmaking. Build one yourself: check out the copious design notes. Basic specs: the free Pure Data graphical multimedia development environment …

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holotone

Meet Holotone, the out-there new label from Daniele Antezza

With galaxies of new sounds out there, we return to certain hubs to point us in stimulating new directions. And Daniele has done it again. We’ve heard some of the upcoming noises from Holotone, a label whose name (no kidding) draws from particle physics, and we have reason to be excited. CDM’s Zuzana Friday goes all in for an in-depth interview with plenty of music to go with the words. Apart from his work as a half of Dadub and his mastering output with Artefacts Mastering studio, Daniele Antezza produces personal and spiritual musical experiments under his Inner8 moniker. Recently, …

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dj4

As other DJ controller gets bigger, this one’s still tiny

It doesn’t have screens. There are no giant wheels or touchstrips. There’s no complex software integration, or built-in mixer, or pads for remixing. But what the DJ4 is is what you might be missing in other DJ controllers. It’s got the controls you need in a tiny, tiny footprint that won’t have you hunting for new luggage or scrambling around a venue to find a bigger table because your gear won’t fit in the booth. (Ahem, yes, you know who you are, giant controllers.) And unlike the increasingly branded, computer-tied world of DJ controllers, this one also works with anything …

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