Chain, Chain, Chain: Crazy Nodal Note Sequencing Departs from Everyday Step Sequencers [Kontakt]

Ready to step beyond normal step sequencers? Skip ahead in the tutorial videos here, and you’ll see what’s possible: elaborate grid patterns that don’t just play looped patterns ad infinitum. Now, as in milkshakes and ice cream cones, sometimes vanilla is just fine. For instance, this week, Nord released Nord Beat, a free step sequencer for iOS. And, apart from being free if you’ve got the iThing to run it, it’s a nice offering. You can chain together multiple loops of steps, and there’s a clever mode for switching to finger drumming. The system works: you get four tracks, velocity …

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In Drifting Circles, Ambient Patterns Off the Grid: Sona on iPad, a New Take on Simon

Sona iPad App ECAL/Ruslan Gaynutdinov from ECAL on Vimeo. Like animated graphic scores, software interface is becoming a palette for musical experimentation. Sona is latest, beautiful combination of interface design, musical composition and visualization, and ambient instrument. You’ve seen works like this before, naturally, but this one – recalling the off-the-grid patterns of ambient master Brian Eno – is especially nicely executed. It also illustrates a point: this kind of work is now routinely done as a student project, but then distributed to the world, not only confined to thesis reports or conferences. This also goes a long way to …

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Traversing a Score in 3D Space: Free IanniX Explores Strange, New Worlds

IanniX — From UPIC to IanniX from IanniX on Vimeo. In the beginning, there was the bar. Actually, wait – that came later. In the beginning, there were sketched outlines of notes. And the notes became fixed in pitch space, and then, increasingly, in time, in divided measures from left to right. And so, what we know today as Western music notation came to be. But then, in the 20th Century, composers began to undo the rigid boxes that score produced. First with pen and paper, later armed with the computer, composers connecting graphic and sound started to violate those …

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The Hand-Cranked, Antique MIDI Sequencer (High-Res Images, Details)

Music, ephemeral and fleeting, to many of us wants tangible embodiment, some physical sense of the tug we feel from its unseen vibrations. We’ve regularly featured the image of the circle as a sequence; even as music software prefers left-to-right piano rolls and scores and tracks, it’s a logical shape. Here, Finnish sound artist Martin Bircher looks to a last-century invention to build a mechanical expression of the sequencer. From an antique music box, comes MIDI, as in the video above. And if that’s too discordant for you, have a look at the original video below. Even in comparison to …

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Max for Live Gems: Easier MIDI Mapping, Automation Recording, and Alternative Sequencing

As Max for Live has matured, this tool for extending the functionality of Ableton Live has played host to a growing wave of brilliant custom tools – enough so that it can be hard to keep track. This month saw a few that deserve special mention. In particular, two tools help make MIDI mapping and automation recording easier in Live, and point the way for what the host itself could implement in a future update. (Live 9, we’re looking at you.) And in a very different vein, from Max for Live regular Protofuse, we see an intriguing alternative approach to …

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3D Modular Sound Gets Real: Stunning AudioGL Demos, Crowd Funding, Beta Coming to You Soon

Electronic music making has had several major epochs. There was the rise of the hardware synth, first with modular patch cords and later streamlined into encapsulated controls, in the form of knobs and switches. There was the digital synth, in code and graphical patches. And there was the two-dimensional user interface. We may be on the cusp of a new age: the three-dimensional paradigm for music making. AudioGL, a spectacularly-ambitious project by Toronto-based engineer and musician Jonathan Heppner, is one step closer to reality. Three years in the making, the tool is already surprisingly mature. And a crowd-sourced funding campaign …

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Some Number on the Floor: Uncanny Sequencer for Ableton Live

Labeled as ready for IDM or “Braindance” music, The Uncanny Sequencer could be something tasty for those tired of regular rhythms. The creation of Julien Bayle, The Uncanny Sequencer is a graphical, generative, multi-part sequencing Max for Live device built for Ableton Live. At its core, it creates polyrhythms and irregular rhythms by making the appearance of each beat probabilistic rather than determinate. Thanks to Julien for sending this our way. (Matrixsynth and Synthtopia deserve credit for being faster.) Features, as described by its creator:

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NodeBeat, Visual Sequencer for iOS + Android Built with Free Tools, Back on Android Market

NodeBeat is the kind of experimental music application that’s thriving in the age of the multi-touch tablet. Its dynamic interface and sound are built on the foundation of free and open source software tools regularly covered here on CDMusic and Motion. OpenFrameworks, the Processing-like C++ library, handles the UI, as libpd, the embeddable version of graphical media environment Pure Data, manages the sound. What you get is an open-ended plane on which you can graphically array sequences, far away from the standard grid, for generative and sequenced music. It’s good fun, which made it a hit on iOS. Developer Seth …

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Eye, Ear, Body Candy: The Pulsing, Geometric AV Worlds of numbercult

Sometimes, to quote Depeche Mode, words are very unnecessary. Instead, lose yourself for a few minutes in the vibrating mathemagical lands of numbercult, audiovisual immersions in which sound and geometry fuse in a strange, abstract dance. Their most recent creation, found via Richard Devine’s prolific Facebook wall and posted earlier this summer, explores an actual audiovisual sequencer. See it at top: Connected is a graphical/musical sequencer system. a three way flow of information, between graphics, sound and external triggers shape the composition. Recorded in real-time. But actual functioning interfaces aside, I’ll leave you with some other video clips that traverse …

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New Music Games+Tools for iPad, Xbox 360, in Circles and Tenori-On Grids

In the blurring areas between gaming and creation, toys and tools, there’s certainly a lot of action, spurred on by platforms for sharing software. Pulse is a new title for the iPad, an ambient rhythmic gaming experience with a unique interface centering around a series of concentric circles. The graphic design looks gorgeous in its abstraction, as much music visualization and animation as game UI. The developer, Cipher Prime, has done this kind of terrific work before – their work includes the ambient streams of colored particles in Auditorium, the Flash-based browser game, followed by the Mac + PC game …

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