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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Handmade Music NYC, Tomorrow Night in Brooklyn

If you’re in the New York area, tomorrow night we have another noise-making get-together at the lovely 3rd Ward. The event is free, and we have free Colt 45. Amanda Ervin is the featured guest this month; see one of her circuits above. Her designs are intended to be something that other folks can make, so they could be an excellent starting point for the project you’re dreaming of. (And once you get sequenced events down, of course, you can assign them to whatever sounds or visuals you like.) Thursday, September 17 7:30 – 10:30 pm FREE 3rd Ward in …

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Amanda Ervin’s Sound Circuits, Handmade Music Brooklyn 9/17 + Open Call

Amanda Ervin makes elegant noise-making apparatuses from simple circuits, and is able to share that process with her students (see her classes among 3rd Ward’s Circuits lineup). She’s going to show off some of her latest creations at the open showcase of Handmade Music Brooklyn, our monthly party + science fair + musical performance + ruckus. (More details soon on Handmade Music events that are springing up worldwide, thanks to the hard work and creativity of the DIY music community!) What really impresses me about these projects is that Amanda has made both the project and the curriculum – that …

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Handmade Music Open Lab: Make Stuff, Get Inspired, Featuring Morgan Packard

Showcasing amazing projects is a good thing. But we know that no creation emerges fully-formed. They start from nothing, with lots of mistakes along the way. You get help and ideas from other people. And you need time. So this month’s Handmade Music in Brooklyn we’re declaring an Open Lab. Got a kit lying on your shelf, waiting to get made? Got a half-finished project that needs fixing? Just want to hang around some musical and visual DIYers and see what they’re up to? And just need a few hours to make some progress? That’s the idea. Software projects, hardware …

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Huggable Plush Synths and Soft Circuits, and Handmade Music NYC Thurs!

Electronics and synths are hard and you can’t hug them; plush animals and toys and blankets and pillows are soft and huggable. And we won’t even get started on the slightly-absurd gender associations of soft textiles and hard, toxic electronics. Or at least, so goes the traditional assumption. But increasingly, designers are becoming interested in soft design. So in a last-minute addition to Handmade Music NYC, Richie Brown has added plush instruments – a ring modulator and two synths, which in turn can be patched together. They’re instruments you can hug. (Next step: make the connections soft, too, I think.) …

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