What if your DAW were completely open-ended and modular, allowing you to send audio and control anywhere, and control from any device - including touch? Or, if that's too abstract for you, what if Usine ran on the Mac?

Sensomusic Hollyhock: An Open-Ended, Modular DAW from Usine Makers, Now Mac + Windows [Beta Preview]

Driven by musicians’ need to do a lot of the same things, and expecting certain ways of doing those things, DAWs have traditionally been mired in the same molds. Sensomusic Hollyhock, an upcoming DAW from the makers of Usine, promises to be genuinely different. Like Usine, it’s built around an entirely open-ended, modular environment – you can patch together only what you need, and can patch together just about anything. But building on Usine, Sensomusic have created an entirely rewritten app, with new audio engine, rebuilt interface, new MIDI management, and, among other things, cross-platform 64-bit support for Windows and …

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Mostly Robot, Behind the Scenes: When Electronic Masters Form a Band [Video, Panel Audio]

It began as a way to demonstrate Native Instruments technology. But watch the video above of Mostly Robot, and you’ll see what happens when some well-loved solo electronic stars work to form a band. This isn’t just about some cool toys: it’s about really playing electronics as an instrument. And as the Internet debates what it means to play, they ask a question that could be even more important: what does it mean to play together? Mostly Robot is an “all-star band” made up of some really amazing people. Jamie Lidell is known as the Warp artist who has gone …

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Android Audio Improvements Will Appear First on Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone

It’s worth adding an addendum to today’s story on Android and high-performance sound. There are promising signs for many current and future Android gadgets when it comes to music and sound. That’s fantastic, because many of us had all but written off the platform entirely. (There’s a reason you haven’t seen much mention of it lately in these parts.) But as we wait to examine broader proposed device support, the present situation involves just one phone. Google’s low-latency playback claims have all been in regards to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. That’s a phone, made by Samsung. You’d absolutely be forgiven …

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Music Developer on Windows 8: A Leap Forward for Desktops; A Leap Backward for Metro, WinRT?

Steven Sinofsky showing Windows 8 last year. Photo (CC-BY) BUILDWindows. There’s good news and bad news on Windows 8 for music making. If you’re using Windows on a conventional, Intel PC, running conventional, desktop Windows apps, the news is really all good – really good. It’s still early days, but Windows 8 promises to be better than Windows 7 at audio performance metrics across the board, a no-brainer sort of upgrade for music makers. By contrast, if you’re using Windows 8 on a new ARM-based tablet or interested in seeing music apps that take advantage of the new-fangled store and …

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Microsoft Unveils Two Surface Tablets, But Questions Abound: Will They Hold a Tune?

The iPad has proven a tablet can be a powerful tool for music. It’s also been mostly alone. Android-powered tablets have suffered from lackluster audio performance. Compound that with low popularity in the marketplace and fragmented OS updates, and the platform has largely scared music developers away. Android devices also lack the richness of the iPad’s hardware accessory support, with multi-pin ports that lie dormant, giving accessory makers insufficient capabilities. Windows-powered tablets thus far show some promise, but absent high-quality multi-touch input or thinner form factors, they’ve also been a non-starter. It’s unclear whether it’ll change the situation, but at …

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Patch Your Own Music Creations, Free: Pd-extended Arrives, Far More Usable

Pure Data is a wonder: a free and open source environment for creating your own musical and multimedia creations with graphical programming, from Miller Puckette, the original creator of Max. You can produce everything from interactive sequencers and drum machines to synths to video performance tools by connecting patch cables visually, and you can run on virtually any platform, from BeagleBoards and Rasberry Pi to Mac, Windows, and Linux desktop. Via libpd, you can target other development languages and environments, embed engines in games, or work with Android and iOS. What hasn’t been so wonderful, of course, is Pd’s graphical …

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Messe Oddities: Pioneer Steelz Audio Type T Automates Dance Battles

I’m immediately attracted to things I can’t identify, so here’s one of the less expected bits of hardware from the Frankfurt Musikmesse show’s digital audio 5.1 hall. (That’s the hall’s actual number – surround sound similarity is coincidental.) Someone at Pioneer worked out how to combine the timer used in chess, the boombox, some DJ effects, and dance battles, and the result is this: the STEELZ AUDIO Type T, evidently new and under glass at Musikmesse in Frankfurt this week. I think it deserves special mention for its sheer oddness. (And hey, maybe this is a product for someone somewhere!) …

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Pd, Everywhere: Free libpd Gets a New Site, New Book on Making Mobile Music Apps

Pure Data (Pd) is already a free, convenient tool for making synths, effects, and sequencers and other musical generators. But imagine stripping away all the things that tie it to a platform – UI, specific hardware support – so it will run just about anywhere, on anything, in any context. That’s what libpd, a free, embeddable, open source (BSD) tool for making interactive music, does. Coders can take their favorite language and their favorite platform, and just plug in the power of Pd. They don’t even have to know almost anything about Pd – they can let an intrepid Pd …

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Bitwig Introduces New Production+Performance Studio; Looks a Lot Like Ableton Live

For years, since the launch of Ableton Live, many have waited for a worthy rival, something that combines production and live performance for music users. Live isn’t without alternatives – Renoise, for instance, has earned some fans, though it isn’t necessarily built for live performance. But few provide the same real-time workflows. Bitwig, based in Berlin as is Ableton and featuring some Abletronic veterans, today took the wraps off its own Bitwig Studio. The good news is, it’s looking as though it might shape up to be a viable tool for DJing, performing, and making music. The bad news is, …

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Rainlith: A Robotic, Responsive Rainstick, Powered by Kinect

In a responsive, real-time sculpture, the simple sonic qualities of a rainstick become electronically enhanced. Rainlith, a “kinetic sound art” work by Rui Gato, makes the rainstick itself robotic, its sounds transformed in space in a way that is itself sculptural. Responding to movement in the space using Microsoft’s Kinect, the apparatus is a geektastic brew of just about every tool you could imagine involved in this sort of construction. The artist shares full details, reproduced here in both English and Portugese – and Rui, thanks for sending this in:

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