New and Free Music: Trent Reznor + Atticus Ross, Daedelus, Ninja Tune at 20, Ghostly

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross working together in their home studio, in 2006. Photo (CC-BY) Aaron Tait. Lots of music hitting the inbox this week, from Reznor scoring a movie about Facebook to Ghostly giving away rarities. Trent Reznor and bandmate Atticus Ross have scored The Social Network, and created a shadowy, throbbing musical landscape that I feel perfectly fits a biopic of geekdom’s dark underbelly. (The music mischievously asks, is it possible to be a bit seedy, lusty, and dorky at the same time?) They’ve also given away the first five tracks, and if you buy in the US …

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Handmade Music NYC 8/29, 1979 Photo-theremin Workshop, Call for Works

Handmade Music returns August 29 to New York City – now in Manhattan at the new Culturefix space on the Lower East Side. Beginners, this is your chance to learn about electronics and sound making, with a newcomer-friendly workshop on making a photo-theremin – and yes, you’ll even learn to solder. (Like knitting, you’ll find it gets easy fast and can even be relaxing.) Entry fee includes all parts cost, and you leave with a fun creation. If you have work you want to show or a performance to propose, be sure to see the call for works at the …

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Flying Lotus Album Art, Come Alive: Fieldlines, Free Interactive Art App

You’ve heard the lamentations before: album art died with the move from the large canvas of the LP vinyl record to the CD. Well, eat your heart out, LPs: album art is back, it’s interactive, and it’s trippier than ever. Just ask Flying Lotus. Fieldlines is a free Mac and Windows application that creates an “augmented reality” experience for your computer. Based on the exquisite cover art by Leigh J. McCloskey for Flying Lotus’ upcoming album “Cosmogramma”, the organic visual pattern animates to movement tracked from your computer webcam, accompanied by the sounds of the record. (Harpist Rebekah Raff’s delicate …

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Notes Visualized as Beams of Color: New Work, Toshio Iwai

Clavilux 2000 – Interactive instrument for generative music visualization from Jonas Heuer on Vimeo. Think of playing musical notes for a moment, or close your eyes while fingering a piano keyboard. Odds are, some visual – however abstract – pops into your mind. Visualizing musical notes is second nature in the digital realm, once a note and an image can each be represented with numbers. Clavilux 2000 by Jonas Friedemann Heuer is one of the latest works to run with the idea. As you play notes, beams of color drift up from the keyboard. In 3D mode, those beams take …

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Virtual Radios Made from Paper, RFID

Digital technology has transformed the listening experience. But there’s little in the way of physical artifacts of that act, and a diminished sense of humanized relationships to an individual being at the other end. From modern radio to Internet-streamed playlists, our listening world is DJed by automated robots in streams that flow through generic, mass-market speakers. The object and the content lack the design intention that imbued, for instance, the gorgeous radio sets of the early 20th Century and the personalities that narrated the programming. Armed with a lasercutter, designer Matt Brown has a novel concept for how to redesign …

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Musical Machines, Piano-Playing Typewriters, Plastic Cups, and Invisible’s Physical Music

Greensboro, NC-based art music band Invisible are indiscriminate about technology – in a good way. Plastic cups, keyboards, typewriters, machines controlled by robotics, if it’s in the trash or at a thrift store, it has a place in the band. Sequences are executed in physical, radial player instruments, without a controlling computer anywhere in site. As voicemail tapes get sampled and typewriters tap lines of absurdist lyrics as each typed letter plays a piano note, something magical happens. Perhaps it’s that, novelty aside, somehow these sound-making objects come together for a reason – the machines assemble in the way the …

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Will the Next Album You Buy Be Flash Memory? SanDisk Joins Major Labels, Big Box Retail, with slotMusic

Distributing music on USB sticks or removable flash memory is an idea various parties have tried for the last few years. The Creative Commons advocates at self-proclaimed “non-evil” indie label Magnatune sold USB sticks pre-loaded with ten albums in 2004; Barenaked Ladies had the nicely-named Barenaked on a stick. But to really make the idea (ahem) stick, you’d need some big distribution. And that’s what a new initiative backed by the major labels and massive flash memory manufacturer SanDisk promises to do. slotMusic.org | Press Release See also GearLog, which notes that SanDisk previously did a free promotional SD of …

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Album Art and Design, Alive and Well in the Digital Age

Today’s reflections on the importance of album art: 1. Album art can be beautiful, whatever the recording medium. It can reflect great design, and extend the expression of the album itself (well, and it helps if the album is great). Justin and Colin have created the site Hardformat to celebrate design on everything from tapes and records to new releases. They have a gorgeous gallery of stuff, pictured above. I like what they have to say on their about page: It seems like everybody’s talking about the end of physical music media. Who knows whether they’re right or not, but …

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iPhone/Touch Roundup: Control, Art, Snow Patrol, Visualizers, Recording, One for India

What could a pocket-sized computer be? It could be a new kind of album extra (yawn), a new kind of generative musical format that samples and responds to the world around it (whoo). It could be a more effective controller (fun), or an Indian drone (really). The Apple iPod touch / iPhone, as always, brings both wonder (potential as an art platform or recording device) and trouble (respectively, restrictions on who can see your art and problems actually getting mic input or transferring files). So here’s this week’s snapshot of what’s happening on Apple’s micro-sized pocket Mac phone mediaplayer thing. …

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DIY Circuits of the Bent Festival Kick Off in LA, Then NYC, Minneapolis

Shining, happy people bending toys. Photo by Beatrix*Jar — see our interview. Despite the name, the Bent Festival this year promises to be about not only circuit bending, but DIY sound in general. (Circuit shaping? Circuit straightening? General circuitration?) Our friend and CDM regular Mike Una has put together fantastic art installations for Minneapolis. Workshops in NYC and LA dig into the mysteries of sensors and tubes, the potential of video bending, and giant, battery-powered noise to drown out the rest of the world. And there are gobs and gobs of performers. Like the North American air currents, Bent begins …

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