Handmade ‘Smomid’ Touch Guitar, in BOMB Video, Extends Expression and Samples Monks

What do you do if you can’t find an instrument that you can play the way you want? In the digital domain, you can just invent one. So, when Brooklyn-based artist Nick Demopoulos wanted a controller that’d allow him to articulate digital instruments more like a guitar and less like a keyboard, he built his own expressive touch controller. It uses arrays of touch-sensing strips on a guitar body. A future version, he says, will incorporate 6 “strings” (touch strips). New York-based literary/culture quarterly BOMB Magazine shot a video in which Nick walks through his creation. Nick has also played …

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Preview: NYC’s In/Out Festival, in Videos, Embraces Eclectic Lineup and Music DIY

You can complain about music events and festivals as they are, dream about what you’d imagine an event could be – or you can go and make it happen. And since the latter category fits friends-of-the-site Chris Gilroy and Lara Grant, it’s well worth an endorsement for this weekend’s In/Out Festival. (For their part, both Chris and Lara have been regulars at our Handmade Music NYC series; Chris as an electronic audiovisualist, and Lara as a textile-and-sound-melding felted signal processing guru.) If you’re in New York, hope you can make it or even help cover it for CDM. If you’re …

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Free Download, Dates: Sepalcure (Praveen + Machinedrum) Make Bass Music Proud

The duo Sepalcure – Praveen Sharma (aka Braille and PRAVEEN) and Travis Stewart (aka Machinedrum) – have already, as solo artists and as a duo, been a big part of the vibrations of so-called Bass Music. Originating from New York, the duo now champion their taste in sounds on two sides of the globe. Travis spends a lot of time in Berlin while Praveen anchors a scene that spans Brooklyn and the Internet in the form of Percussion Lab, with that group’s events, Web downloads, and Monday night live streams. (In fact, if you’re up against some deadlines or feeling …

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Reed Ghazala and Circuit Sound Artists in Videos, as NYC’s Bent Festival Gets Underway

Circuit bending has a reputation as involving far-out, unstructured experimental noise, of real violence and distortion done to instruments. And there’s probably a place for that. But Reed Ghazala, circuit bending’s spiritual father and electronic practitioner, takes a more organic, evolutionary approach. Reed recently told me about his favorite application of his iPad, apart from exploring new experimental soundscapes with tools like the brilliant granular app Curtis. He brings it with him into the forest, using GPS for location, and tracking plants and animals, identifying the sounds of bird and beasts. In our electronic ecosystem, fowl and beast are finding …

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Musical Sewing Machines, Electronic Honky-Tonk, and Handmade Music NYC Monday

Sewing together music: designer and techno-textile artist Lara Grant constructs music with a modded sewing machine and Max. Lara is one of the artists playing Handmade Music in New York next week; stay tuned here for more behind the scenes of what those folks are doing. Photo (CC-BY-SA) See-ming Lee. Before evolutionary adaptation comes mutation. Some of the weirdest stuff, in other words, could be the future – just ask biology. That was the conversation I had with folks like artist Rosa Menkman in Old Amsterdam (the one in Holland). So, as we gather back in New Amsterdam (NYC), we …

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Through Friday, Making One-Button Objects, Chip-Infused Hackday Saturday

“Press play” … “button-mashing” … the very criticism of digital music is often directed at the button or switch, even as the cult hit monome spreads arrays of buttons like a virus. Well, we’re still interested in what you can do with a button, so to fully focus you, we’re only giving you one button with which to play. The challenge of limiting interaction to one button has already spawned an explosion of entries from game designers, who have fought their way through intense competition for the legendary Gamma indie/experimental game competition. We’ll see the winners at the Game Developer …

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DIY Music Tech Community Round-up; Reflecting on the State of Music DIY?

The elegant patterns of a circuit board, as photographed by / (CC-BY) Last week, what was intended to be a day of posts wound up being several days of updates on events centered around music technology and DIY creation. Here’s a birds-eye view of what we covered, some of the events you can catch in person, and some of what these events reveal. It’s worthwhile just putting these posts in one spot so you can easily mark your calendar – and you can see, even in this small slice, the amount and breadth of activity happening now. At STEIM in …

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Participate: One Button Game Objects, Handmade Music in NYC, Amsterdam, SF

It’s a call for one-button works. Literally. Sorry. Photo (CC) Jeff Keyzer. What can you do with a button? What circuits can you bend? What software and hardware can you construct? Want to meet up with myself and fellow makers from the DIY music and visualist communities? I’m touring and looking for new works, we have one call for one-button objects that (if you can ship it) can come from anywhere in the world, plus upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and — this month, Amsterdam at the planetary music tech hub that is STEIM. STEIM is an inspiration …

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NYC in December: RjDj, Pd, in/out Fest Workshops + Performances, Blip Festival

monome creator Brian Crabtree at an early Handmade Music at Etsy Labs. Brian will perform under his name tehn, joining other artists with grids and patches and felt to talk about and play with alternative controllers at the in/out Fest. Photo (CC). It’s the most wonderful time of the year in New York. Mark your (advent) calendars. And for non-New Yorkers, let me know – who do you want interviewed? What do you want covered? Whose music do you want us to podcast? Our gift to you will be coverage of these events. New Yorkers and metro-area residents of the …

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Handmade Music: NYC Thursday – Wearable Sound, DIY Dance Music + MP3s

From Sarah and Lara Grant, we have a dress that makes music, with tube-like apparatus made of felt for connecting sound, modular fashion. From the raucous duo Great Tiger, we get a homebrewed arcade controller Ableton Live that mashes loops into dance music with a quick button push. Yep, it’s Handmade Music time again in New York tomorrow Thursday. If you’re anywhere in the area, come on down – and feel free to bring your own projects and/or expect some surprise technological appearances. If not, we’ve still got some MP3s, visuals, and how-to information to share. If you do make …

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