Meet the Strange, Wonderful 70s Machine that Used AI to Make Music

The 70s were one heck of a groovy time. When they weren’t postulating theories about the very underlying essence of all physical reality being reduced to computational models, pioneering AI scientists were … creating weird music sequencers? Seriously? The Singularity will be brought to you by Giorgio Moroder, perhaps? Yes, as we saw earlier this week, AI legends Edward Fredkin and Marvin Minsky somehow managed to take their research in philosophy, digital physics, and cognitive science, and make a weird box that most definitely is capable of blinking lights and making sequences of bleeps. The Triadex Muse really seems like …

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Zillion is a Generative Step Sequencer from Future-Retro with Loads of Possibilities, Performance Tools

Machines give us something that would have amazed musicians from centuries past: they let us make melodies without playing them directly. Now, there are three ways of doing that. One, there are tools that take what you play and turn them into sequences. Two, there are interfaces for making melodies with touch, sliders and knobs. And then there’s a third category: boxes that can actually generate new melodies, all under your control. You control the parameters of the sequence, but the content is algorithmically produced. Future-Retro’s Zillion does just about anything you would ever dream of in that third category. …

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generalmidi

MIDI Piano Roll Turned Into Platformer: Adventures of General MIDI

It turns Logic Pro into a game level editor. It makes a standard MIDI file into a terrain of platforms to explore. As you navigate, your footfalls on piano roll-visualized notes procedurally generate sound effects and music. And it turns General MIDI — and Super Midio, and my personal favorite, the SysExorcist — into heroes. It’s Adventures of General MIDI, a platformer made from MIDI files. And it’s the creation of Will Bedford, who quips that he fails miserably at his own game in the YouTube video and gives up at the end. Even more unlikely (arguably), it’s built in …

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A Giant LEGO Construction Makes Music with Maschine, Made by NI’s Devs

LEGOs and rapid, hacked construction have led to the development of hardware sold to musicians; Push and Maschine each saw hacked-together versions as prototypes before the more-polished versions we see today. So, why not use some of those toys and hacks to make something you can actually use, right now? Apparently what happens when you let the Native Instruments development team free to play for a weekend, that’s exactly what happens. LEGO Techno uses computer vision to allow the musician to make sequences with LEGO blocks. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this very idea – seems musicians gazing …

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LIQUID RHYTHM 1

Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …

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Let your iPad Look Like Anything, Sequence Anything, with Lemur 5

Even before the world had seen the iPad, the promise of Lemur was a touchable interface that could become anything – a Star Trek-like world in which you could touch fluid controls directly to make live music and visuals. The reality, though, was more limited. Users were limited to a library of widgets. That included useful controls, like knobs, faders, and even more far-out physics-enabled X/Y pads, buct widgets, nonetheless. A major update to Lemur this week blows that wide open, in two ways. First, it overhauls how sequencing works, with both tighter timing and new objects, ideal for use …

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Renoise 3 Beta Quick Tour: Patterns, Instruments, Chains, Macros for More Musical Creativity

The phrase “alternative universe” always seems to fit Renoise. Imagine a world in which the tracker metaphor – a music arrangement notion mostly associated with software from years ago, especially on Amiga – became dominant. From there, you begin to explain that Renoise is an instrument that brings that retro idea into a modern context. Well, Renoise 3.0’s beta has arrived. And this time, it feels like someone ripped open a wormhole and showed us this alternate future in all its glory, no holds barred. Renoise 3 is a radical step forward for the popular tool, challenging notions of what …

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Ableton Goodies: Max for Live Devices for Spectral Effects, Video, Random Rhythms

Our inbox is full of fun stuff Ableton lovers can download, so we’re pronouncing it “Ableton Goodies” day. Enjoy! Open up a platform to making custom tools, and the user can become the upgrade. They can devise new ways of making music – small inventions to spark creativity. And that’s happened in the case of Max for Live, allowing Max patches to run easily inside Ableton Live. Ableton hardly needs to release their own patches, or take much action at all. The Max community has been robust for over two decades now. Sites like maxforlive.com have rich collections of instruments, …

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Erika: Musical Restraint, Space, Future, BBSes, Detroit [Interview]

From being a long-time mainstay of the Detroit scene to, at last, debuting a proper solo LP with Hexagon Cloud, the one word that can sum up Erika for me is, simply, “inspiring.” And if Hexagon Cloud’s perfectly-calibrated analog sounds and imaginative musical frequencies indulge our futuristic sonic fantasies, here we get the chance to talk to Erika a bit about what lies beyond musical parameters, too. That ranges from Detroit (past the fetishization of ruined buildings, please) to the liberation of early-90s BBSing to the appeal of outer space. You can listen to Erika’s work and revisit some reflections …

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A Brilliant 199€ Hardware Sequencer with Jog Wheel: MTRX-8 Preview [Photos, Video, Interview]

Sleek and black, sporting a high-resolution jog wheel, the MTRX-8 is a futuristic sequencer the likes of which you probably haven’t seen in hardware before. Even though it’s the product of a boutique DIY maker – France’s Fyrd Instruments, aka designer Julien Fayard – it’s eschews the usual homebrewed, retro aesthetics. And it’s not expensive, either; the launch price has been lowered to 199€ based on early demand. It’s a MIDI sequencer, it’s a drum sequencer, it’s a performance-geared machine with quick access to presets, and it’s covered with quick access controls rather than confusing menus. At last, it’s sequencer …

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