Wild Musical Inventions from Berlin Hackday

Nodes of musical events, arrayed onto virtual tracks, in Jakob Penca’s iLoveAcid sequencer. Take a weekend, and make something: that’s the challenge behind the Music Hack Day, which joins a growing phenomenon of events built around collective creation. (CDM held its own tangible interface hackday online, which I definitely hope to follow up soon!) Initiated by Dave Haynes of music sharing service Soundcloud, the Hack Day has already hit London. Many of the events were Web app-based and focused on consumption rather than creation of music, but we also saw a chordal synth plug-in and beer bottle percussion instrument. The …

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Jasuto Modular Synth for iPhone, Mac + Windows VST: Build Your Own Instruments

Jasuto envelope example from Jasuto on Vimeo. Imagine friendly creation of custom synths and sounds by dragging visual nodes. Now imagine you can do that on a mobile device and your computer – and eventually combine the two. That’s the vision of Jasuto, and while it’s not quite there yet, it’s incredibly promising. The laws of combinatorics predict that, on a regular basis, you’ll see countless soft synths that are slight variations of one another. With the iPhone/iPod touch gold rush in full swing, we’re starting to see the pattern repeat itself, just as it did in Windows and Mac …

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A Mutating Drum Step Sequencer, New MIDI Library for Processing

The creator of the wonderful glitchDS, repeaterDS, and cellDS Nintendo homebrew music apps has turned his sights to the free and open coding-for-artists desktop tool Processing. The result: a drum machine that mutates and morphs in wonderful ways via a command-line interface. (I almost put the command line bit in the headline, but while I actually adore command lines, I think the more interesting part of it is the way it mutates its patterns in lovely ways. No boring endless step sequence repeat here.) The tool is called Quotile, and since it is built in Processing and the code is …

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Alternative Sequencers: Elysium Generative Mac App and the Joy of Hex

Switching tools isn’t a panacea, but it can inspire new ideas, by changing the way you structure your music. Elysium is a powerful new sequencer in development for the Mac the creates generative patterns on a beehive-shaped hexagonal grid. For the hardcore, you can even extend the tool with Ruby and JavaScript. Elysium is a MIDI sequencer only: it has no sound generation facility of its own. But that makes it an ideal complement to your existing tools and favorite synths; the creator shows it off with Apple Logic Studio (Sculpture physical modeling, anyone?) and Native Instruments Kore. Elysium [Mac-only …

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Hands-on with Bloom, New Generative iPhone App by Eno and Chilvers

Bloom is a new generative musical application for iPhone and iPod touch, created by Brian Eno and software designer Peter Shilvers. It’s quite simple, but if you’re looking for some soothing musical strains to float out of your mobile Apple device, this is your ticket. At launch, you’re given a choice of either using a pre-determined set of rules, or tapping in your own parameters and patterns. The touch interface lets you use your fingers to add note patterns, which then repeat and mutate. If you make your own composition, you’ll start those patterns from a blank slate, but even …

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Mod271: Zoomable, Graphical, Modular Sound Playground

Take the modular, patchable sound-making capabilities of Reaktor and (at the other end of the scale) Reason, and combine it with a graphical, zoomable, nodal interface with patch cords showing actual signal, as on the reacTable interactive table interface, and you should get something like Mod271. (Pronounced “mode.”) The software is in pre-pre-alpha phase, but it’s freely downloadable for Windows users if you’re adventurous, and the developer promises more progress and other operating systems soon. Features: ASIO/MIDI support, VSTi version coming Everything is full audio-rate, meaning you can mix and match MIDI and DSP Powerful nodes: “every node can be …

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