light_show_0

Watch the Clavilux, an ethereal light organ from 100 years ago

Long before trippy visualizers and computer animation, before liquid light shows or laser parties, Thomas Wilfred was building organs for visuals. He called the art they produced Lumia, and the instrument Clavilux – a keyboard for light. That first instrument was built all the way back in 1919. But unlike a lot of the spectacles of the era, this one is still hypnotic today, even after all the advances of cinema and computing. Drawing on a tradition that included displays of fire and fireworks, and the ability to place sound “at the command of a skilled player at a piano,” …

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perseids

Welcome the Perseid meteor shower with songs about space

The Perseid meteor shower arrives on the 13th of August – this Thursday. So, let’s celebrate with some music and sound. First, a quick refresher: what is a meteor shower? It’s what happens when the Earth passes through the debris trail left by a comet. (Ah ha! See, just now you were sitting at your desk, and may have forgotten that you’re traveling at hyper-fast speeds on a rock hurtling through the vastness of the cosmos. Oh, yes.) We hit the Perseids every August, but this year is special in that you’ll only have to contend with urban light pollution …

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Control MIDI and Ableton from your iPhone, Android for handheld music

Put control over Ableton Live in the palm of your hand – and control MIDI gadgets even without the aid of a computer. That’s the vision of LK (the former Livkontrol), out today for both iOS and Android handhelds. This isn’t the first pocket controller. But it might be the first pocket controller to become truly invaluable. That’s because there’s robust support for more than just sliding some faders on your phone or working with wifi. Features, all borrowed from the tablet LK: Wireless connections, but also USB connection USB to MIDI interface support, so you can use this as …

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beatstepproangle

Watch how Arturia’s BeatStep Pro sequences all your gear – mega meta roundup

Do call it a comeback. The hardware sequencer, once a forgotten relic of the computer age, has returned with a vengeance. And the reason is simple: we need it. Sure, we might play with a computer, but we’ve fallen for other synthesizers and drum machines – a lot of it quite cheap, too. We want hands-on control so we can play live again, improvise with our hands rather than furrow our brows over a mouse and screen. And we might even have beloved analog gear and want it to groove along with everything else. Few companies represent the blossoming of …

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Octave One by Marie Staggat-23

Octave One Are Back, Improvising Grooves with Machines

If anyone can make cookie-cutter techno, then improvisation is the route back to heart and soul. And there are few people as good at making dense, bass-heavy improvised dance music as Detroit’s Octave One. I mean, yes, it’s a little weird that any of us would get overly eloquent or snobby writing about dance music. I would hope your test is the same as my test – does piping a track make you start doing an embarrassing little jig at your desk? (Boy, am I glad my office is on street level and equipped with giant, aquarium-style windows.) Octave One …

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Imhotep_3D

Space Sounds from ESA are Now Free to Use on SoundCloud

What does it sound like when a comet “sings” into a magnetic field? Or when you rotate a 600-ton deep space observation station? What if you could hear the radar echoes from a probe descending onto Saturn’s moon Titan? Oh, yeah, and what’s the sound you hear that tells you the International Space Station is on fire and you should get into that docked Soyuz RFN? Well, the European Space Agency has released those and more, from sonifying the inaudible to letting you hear the voices of the people who are leading some of the human race’s latest exploits into …

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launchpadhack

Hack a Grid: Novation Makes Launchpad Pro Firmware Open Source

Novation’s Launchpad Pro has just begun shipping, and it’s lovely, very flexible hardware. You can use it with Ableton Live. You can use it with other software, as a standard MIDI controller. It’s USB class-compliant, so it works with other devices and operating systems, like the iPad and Raspberry Pi. You can change how it works with Max for Live, or any software that supports MIDI. And it works in a variety of standalone modes, so you can use it to play hardware without connecting to a computer. That’s a lot, already. But soon, the Launchpad Pro could do more. …

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modulargrid_111948

Techno Legend Surgeon Breaks Down His Live Modular Set

A techno master reveals how he uses modular in his live set – with full details.

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tortillamusic

A Tortilla Laser-cut Into a Record is the Future of Music

Hipsters love Mexican food, record players, and laser cutters. Let’s combine them – for reals. The hell with other music distribution media…

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audiomux

Audiomux V2 Turns Your iPad, iPhone into the Ultimate Plug-in

Audiomux already changed how we use our iPhones and iPads. Out: juggling cables and audio interfaces just to record an app. In: using apps seamlessly on your computer via just a Lightning or (30-pin) Dock cable. Well, if that didn’t make you interested in plugging your iPad into your DAW, this should. Using an app as a synth or effect on iOS is now about to be as easy as adding a plug-in — even on Windows. Audiomux isn’t the only game in town. Apple announced this month at its developer conference that was baking some basic functionality into iOS …

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