pulse

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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nodalUI

With Networks of Notes, Nodal Generates Music: Updated Mac+Windows App Now Adds MIDI

What makes music software popular? Simple recording, DJ, and remix apps unsurprisingly do well. But perhaps as a testament to the importance of individual music expression, some stranger entries do, too. And those less-typical software creations can give you new ways of exploring music creation and performance. Just take Nodal. GarageBand sits comfortably at the top of the sellers list on Apple’s App Store. But, at least briefly, a generative composition tool has rocketed to second place. Nodal 1.7, available for both Mac and Windows, is unlike most music production tools. In place of linear track arrangement, clusters of graphical …

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imeasequencer

Indie Music Devs Band Together with Deals on Synths, Effects, Tools, through 5/23

Game makers and (particularly Mac) utility developers have joined forces to do various bundles of their software. I have to say, I generally like the model – particularly the fantastic Humble Bundle of indie games. That collection not only encouraged people to try adventurous (often experimental) independent game titles, but gives some of the proceeds to relevant charities. Linux users have been buying up the bundles disproportionately, contrary to the idea that they won’t spend money on software, and some of the developers even set a goal to earn enough money to open source their tools. (The open source software …

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otomata

Otomata, A Generative Online Sequencer; Apps versus Web, Plus SuperCollider Goodies

Behold the power of the Web: composition ideas become a tool, a tool becomes a means for even casual users sharing musical sketches, and a browser toy can be a window into a Turkish sound artist breeding musical DNA like some people breed strains of flowers. Otomata is a simple generative online grid-based sequencer, owing to a number of step sequencers and Toshio Iwai’s Tenori-on, with some beautiful circular visualizations of the resulting sounds. I’m late in posting it, but in a way, that’s a good thing – in the time that this sequencer has spread around the Web, it’s …

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peopleonsynplode

Bugs on the Game Grid: Synplode Makes Step Sequencing Tangible for an Interactive Dance Floor

Digital musician and artist Josh Silverman began the Synplode process with something familiar – a checkerboard. Play a game of checkers on its computer vision-equipped playing field and beats and loops triggered in Ableton Live generated a responsive soundtrack for the game. But as it’s evolved, Synplode has become a general-purpose musical grid. Whether with little robotic insects (the Hexbugs here) or full-sized human persons, the grid can turn any space into a dynamic, interactive dance floor. (I think I may actually prefer those cute little bugs to the people and dancers and whatnot. Robot rave, anyone?) I prodded Josh …

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Isle of Tune: City Simulation as Music Sequencing, Soon to Leap from Browser to Mobile

A music score is, in essence, a way of making space into time: traversing notation from left to right and top to bottom, you move through a series of events. So, why not make that spatial map an actual map, as in the familiar, isometric interactive cityscape popularized by Will Wright’s classic game Sim City? Isle of Tune does just that: lay out trees, houses, and city streets, and you sequence musical patterns as virtual islands. It’s available right now on the Web, powered by Flash – Chrome users can even get a one-click install via the Chrome Web Store. …

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Circles and Euclidean Rhythms: Off the Grid, a Few Music Makers That Go Round and Round

Loopseque on the iPad. Courtesy the developer. We continue our 3.14 celebration with a round-up of circular logic. There’s no reason apart from the printed score to assume music has to be divided into grids laid on rectangles. Even the “piano roll” as a concept began as just that – a roll. Cycles the world around, from a mechanical clock to Indonesian gamelan, can be thought of in circles. Imagine an alternate universe in which Raymond Scott’s circle machine – a great, mechanical disc capable of sequencing sounds – became the dominant paradigm. We might have circles everywhere, in place …

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Fingertip Music: Reactable Mobile in a Tutorial Video

Weekend fun, part 1: as Reactable makes the leap from custom, tangible interface to go-anywhere iPhone/iPad app, here’s a look at what the fingertip-controlled music creation experience is like. The first of a series of tutorials, the video above walks you through some basic music production. It should lay to rest any question about whether this kind of interface can work in musical performance or live arrangement. I still think some artists will want to bang on something rather than just gently finger-paint their way through music, but as arrangement tool, it’s intriguing – and this video makes clearer what …

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Create Analog Music: Modular, Cartesian Step Sequencing with Rene

Clock Trippin, Poly Rhythm RENÉ from Richard Devine on Vimeo. Analog both in the electrical sense and in the way it combines continuous, non-discrete steps, the RenĂ© is a step sequencer with a difference. The hardware uses a two-dimensional array of knobs to produce non-linear, complex rhythmic patterns from some four clock and two CV inputs. I think the proof is in watching it above, in a video this week by Richard Devine, employing a fully modular, analog working method – no computers in sight. Because, really, people who use computers and drum machines are total posers. You’ll never find …

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Turn Ordinary Cell Phones into Beautiful Noisemakers

In your pocket, or perhaps orphaned in your closet, is a sophisticated piece of electronics going to waste. So, whether you’re suffering from iPhone envy or simply want to put toxic used electronics to useful musical applications, the cell phone noisemaking project at GetLoFi could help make a happier, noisier world. The ingredients:

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