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Rock Band 3, Behind the Scenes: When A Music Game Gets More Real

Play testing Rock Band’s challenging new play modes. You know, challenging — kind of like music. Alli Thresher, community moderator, and Jessa Brezinski, intern. What Harmonix has achieved with Rock Band, and their original Guitar Hero, is remarkable. At their core, these games are descended from arcade rhythm games, reducing music to simple coordination of a few buttons. Yet numerous studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that, in an age in which recording has made musical experience passive for many, the fantasy of holding a plastic instrument is enough to convince people to explore music making again. Rock Band’s collaborative gameplay …

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Bendable, Musical Shoes for Nike, and How They Were Made

Shoes are the new turnables. Or at least that’s the conclusion you might reach after watching a new Japanese campaign for Nike’s Free Run+ running shoes. Apparently wishing to tout the bendable qualities of its new footwear, Nike enlisted sound artists to transform its product into a musical instrument. The shoes get plugged in, switched on, and mixed up, battle-style, as they sense when the shoe is flexed or moved in space. And yes, everything you see in the video is real: the shoes really are controlling digital sound live. We even have the Max patch to prove it. Lovers …

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David Byrne on Collaboration, Process

David Byrne is, of course, a legendary name. But part of what I love about music is, for all the hero worship that sometimes accompanies music writing and fandom, there’s always something to learn from musicians whose work you enjoy – whether famous or obscure. David Byrne has been singularly open in talking about his work and process. In an extensive post this week, he shares how collaborations with other artists are born, evolve, and unfold: 03.15.10: Collaborations And, boy, are the collaborations coming now. The new Here Lies Love is a project with Fatboy Slim. In the post above, …

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Depeche Mode: Inside the Studio, Identify the Gear at Keyboard Mag

Depeche Mode’s latest album, “Sounds of the Universe,” is due April 20 internationally. I got the chance to cover the band for Keyboard Magazine, speaking with Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher as well as returning producer Ben Hillier, who was a big part of the signature sound of 2005’s “Playing the Angel.” Martin developed eBay and KVR Audio addictions during the making of the album, so you can imagine just how much gear love was part of the process – with the talent of the musicians and Hillier’s vision as a producer managing to keep the resulting sound open and …

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Behind the Scenes with Justice in Rio

Here’s a unique chance to step onstage with electronic duo Justice – well, through photos, at least – on tour in Brazil. Behind a stack of Marshall Amps and other gear that looks ready to push back an invading horde of Barbarians with a battering ram, these two have some very lovely goodies for live laptop performance. No plain-vanilla DJ sets here. Our friend Fabio “FZero” writes: I came across some pictures of the gear Justice used to play in Rio. They were taken by a guy which works on Circo Voador (the place were they played) and uploaded to …

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